Auto Industries in Alabama Target of Unions

Unions haven't had much luck getting
their feet in the door to Alabama's automotive industry during boom
times dating to the mid-1990s when the first vehicles started
rolling off state assembly lines.

The lack of union activity in Alabama's auto industry has been a
key selling point for the state when courting new business in the
sector, which supports more than 134,000 jobs and a $5.2 billion
annual payroll.

But some wonder whether that could change now that those same
plants are struggling amid an industrywide sales slump that has
forced production cutbacks and a loss of hours for workers.

Mercedes-Benz and Honda, which have slashed output at their
respective factories in Vance and Lincoln, have been the target of
union organizing efforts over the years.

A representative of the International Association of Machinists
and Aerospace Workers recently returned to Vance for a meeting with
Mercedes employees and says he hopes to find a more receptive
audience.

Mercedes spokeswoman Felyicia Jerald says union decisions are up
to employees, and the company feels employees are informed enough
to make a responsible decision.

Officials with the United Auto Workers have been quiet about
union organizing activities at Mercedes and Honda. Efforts to reach
the union last week were unsuccessful.


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